Apple Tried to Buy Tesla in 2013, and Could Try Again Soon: Report
It appears that Apple's development of an electric vehicle, dubbed Project Titan, is still very much so alive.
According to an investment bank analyst, tech giant Apple made a "serious bid" to buy Tesla back in 2013, and the American startup's falling stock price could once again open Tesla up to the possibility of an Apple buyout.
"Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around 240 dollars a share, this is something we did multiple checks on, I have complete confidence that this is accurate," said senior research analyst for Roth Capital Partners, Craig Irwin, in a televised interview with CNBC. "Apple bid for Tesla. I don't know if it got to a formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple, different sources that this was very credible."
Irwin explained that Tesla, which he said was structured more like a technology company than an automaker, is years ahead of the automotive world with its technological development. For reasons unspecified, the Apple deal didn't go through, and Apple allegedly proceeded in late 2014 to launch a self-driving electric car program of its own, believed to be nicknamed "Project Titan." This project was ranked dead-last among driving autonomy programs according to a report from February, leading to personnel layoffs, but Irwin says that despite its downscaling, Project Titan remains on track.
"So right now, Apple is building multiple very large dry rooms in California," claimed Irwin, in reference to the low-humidity rooms used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries that power most modern EVs. "What does that mean? They're doing something interesting and exciting on the battery side. Project Titan is absolutely not dead."
Irwin believes that Apple's 2013 buyout offer was fair at the time, when Tesla share prices averaged $104.40. Tesla's share price exceeded $370 multiple times across 2018, but since its most recent high on December 13, Tesla been on a rough decline to where it is today, at $204.79 as of the time of this article. Stock values may continue to drop with Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitting that the automaker may face bankruptcy within a year.
Irwin posits that Apple—or a competitor—could be a possible savior for the financially embattled Tesla.
"If Apple had interest then, they would probably have interest now at the right price, and I expect that there are other technology companies that would also step in," he concluded.